Should violent images of women EVER be portrayed as chic? Campaigners condemn grotesque ‘beauty victim’ photoshoot as ‘perverse’
By Emma Reynolds
12 June 2012
These are the shockingly brutal images of inured women used in a fashion magazine’s photoshoot about beauty.
The disturbing pictures published as part of a fashion spread in Bulgarian magazine 12 have been condemned as ‘perverse’ and ‘troubling’ by domestic violence charity workers.
Entitled Victim of Beauty, the shoot by photographer Vasil Germanov shows six beautiful models with black eyes, viciously torn out piercings and sickening burns.
One graphic photo shows a glamorous, smokey-eyed woman with her throat slashed while the following picture is of another woman with her mouth cut into a bleeding smile.
The special-effects make-up is by Daniela Avramova, while the ‘beauty make-up’ and hair are by Slav for Max Factor.
Alison Meldrum, from anti-domestic violence charity Standing Together, said: ‘Given that violence is already skyrocketing in teen relationships, this kind of perversity masquerading as “art” is very troubling.’
Each model looks impeccable apart from her injuries, with one wearing Valentino dress and Galdini earrings, the next three in H&M shirts and the final two wearing outfits by Bulgarian label Capasca.
The magazine’s website, which is not restricted, displays the following warning under the first image, which appears on its homepage: ‘Recommended Parental Controls: pictures are not recommended for persons under 16 years. And for the faint hearted.’
One user wrote underneath: ‘To me this is amazing!! While some may think that this glamorizes violence, I think it makes you think outside of the square to what the photographer was trying to depict. To me it says while a woman can be scarred, she can in fact still be beautiful.’
But others claim the spread merely builds on a disturbingly vast history of mutilated women in fashion shoots.
In the late 1980s, many adverts featured women who were abused, bound and gagged, or tied up in body bags and stuffed in bis.
Model Jenna Sauers called the spread ‘appalling’ in a comment piece in Jezebel.com.
Referencing a long tradition for violent imagery such as a Jerry Hall shoot by Helmut Newton, she said: ‘Much of the imagery the fashion industry uses to communicate its messages at best echoes and at worst reinforces some of the wider culture’s most negative ideas about women and girls.’